Adam Curtis Weekend

30.+31.10.2015 / HAU1

Hardly known in Germany, Adam Curtis is an exception among documentary film-makers, a chronicler of big ideas. Although this is actually only half the truth. For Curtis is not interested in the significant ideas of even more significant thinkers. Rather in how these ideas from professorial offices and think tanks migrate into the power centres of politics and the military, where they become government initiatives and election strategies. And how these ideas regularly fail when they come upon power, interests and imponderabilities.

With film series such as "Pandora’s Box", "The Mayfair Set", "The Power of Nightmares", "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" and particularly with "The Century of the Self", from 2002, Adam Curtis has established himself as a genealogist of our present times and a master of the historical counter-narrative. At the same time he stands for traditions that are currently threatened in many countries. He is a public-sector film-maker who has always worked for the BBC, and has only been able to undertake his large research projects because of this. His montages are similar to a music improvisation – they are variations on a theme that develops through trawling through the BBC archive. Sometimes serious, sometimes extravagant, sometimes playful. And recurrently verging on the absurd. His versatility is also shown in his collaboration with other artists, such as the theatre group Punchdrunk or the band Massiv Attack, with which he collaborated on a multi-media performance at the Ruhrtriennale 2013. 

January 2015 saw the premier of Adam Curtis’ new film "Bitter Lake", which he produced exclusively for the BBC’s online platform iPlayer. In his inimitably radical way, he achieves a new and emotional view of the complex history of Afghanistan. To mark the screening of "Bitter Lake", Curtis speaks in the discussion series REVOLVER LIVE! with Christoph Hochhäusler and Nicolas Wackerbarth about the invisibility of modern power. The starting point of the conversation with the cultural theorist Mark Fisher is Curtis’ prize-winning BBC series "The Century of the Self", about the use of psychoanalysis by governments and companies to manipulate public opinion.